Originally from Austin, Texas, Jennie’s inherent nature is to create community — often hosting friends at her home. She sees art, too, as a form of kinship or hospitality, not expressing her own tastes, but pairing pure colors with the stories of others.

Meet Jennie Lou

A little over a year ago, I made a wonderful friend, Kayla Fruchtman. We met for coffee and just clicked. She is a woman who started, “The Her Initiative” and I believe she embodies the “as you are” series. Here is why…

A little over a year ago I was sitting at my work desk stalking “Christian mom bloggers.” Doesn’t get weirder than that. And before you judge me on why I was doing this, I’ll explain

I was slowly dreaming up The Her Initiative and knew I wanted to get some “social media influencers” on board to promote the cause. My first attempt at finding these influencers was to troll the internet for those perfect looking women, who not only have a beautiful home, but a gorgeous husband, and perfect-looking children. And somehow, she also finds the time to blog about it! These women seemed like they had it all together and I thought that was what I wanted to align The Her Initiative with (I learned quickly that was not the case…more on that later!)

As I read their stories, something became clear, over and over again. These seemingly perfect-looking women had pasts. They had been broken, hurt women who had faced some really tough things. They openly talked about bad relationships, one night stands, abortions, and abuse. They talked about their pasts in a very confident way because they had been “redeemed” or “made whole.” And it was very physically clear that their past was redeemed – they had the hot husband, 2.5 kiddos, and gorgeous house to prove it. The more I read their stories, the more I questioned my own…


Because I was currently sitting right in my mess. I was broken in a million pieces at that exact moment and there was no outward evidence that I had been redeemed. I didn’t have the perfect house (or beautifully curated Instagram feed), I didn’t have the husband or the perfect children in their perfect clothes. I was single, and bored, and questioning if there really even was a bigger plan for my life. I was in a terrible pattern of bad relationships and poor decisions. And the more I read about these women, the more frustrated I was that no one was talking about the hard things while they were actually dealing with them. It’s as if we women can only share our brokenness once we are whole again.

Where were the women who could admit that their past is quite recent and they still screw up? We live in a society that doesn’t let us speak up “as we are.” We can only speak up when we have seemingly figured it all out.

This. Is. So. Unfortunate.

It’s unfortunate for many reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is that it produces a hidden society of shame and makes us think that we have nothing to share, as if we’ve lost the authority to speak Truth because we’ve screwed up. I used to be the friend that listened really well and sometimes had good advice, but when I couldn’t share my story fully, it started making me question if I would ever have anything good to say again.

But then something really interesting happened.

The most incredible women started coming into my life and we shared our stories with each other and the brokenness slowly started to feel like it was this beautiful part of me, not something I needed to be ashamed of. I didn’t have to be fully “fixed” to offer love, insight, and (dare I say) wisdom to my friends. We met each other where we were…as we are. 

There is this Japanese art called Kintsugi that literally means to “repair with gold.” You take a broken piece of pottery and you put it back together using real gold. The piece is more beautiful than the original, with all the gold highlighting the cracks where it was once broken. I love how this represents our lives. We can’t hide the cracks. We are all broken. But that is what makes us beautiful.

It’s the gold in our lives. It’s my story. It’s your story. It’s as we are.

In the past year I have seen my brokenness in a whole new way. I see it as the story that has shaped me to be the person I am today. It has led me to some really beautiful people and friendships and it keeps me grounded. My story is worth sharing while I’m still single, I don’t have to wait to have the “redeemed” looking life to share truth. I don’t have to feel like I have to hide a part of me – I can be fully me, with my golden cracks shining through. 

I choose to be as I am and I ask you to do the same. It’s the most beautiful part of who you are. As you are. 


Why did I write this post and allude to my past but not really share it with you? Was part of me tip-toeing around certain topics? Maybe. Maybe I didn’t want to tell you everything and that is ok. I have a real love/hate relationship with the blogging social media world because we often think its ok to share the deepest parts of ourselves with the rest of the world. While I just told you in this post to fully be you, I want to give this warning: be authentic, not vulnerable. Everyone deserves your authenticity, not everyone deserves your vulnerability. We’ve taken these trendy words and often used them interchangeably but it just isn’t true, they are very different. Vulnerability is something that is earned. I’m not going to air my “dirty laundry” to you, I don’t know you. But I am going to be real and authentic with you. I would want nothing more than to get to know you over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and build a level of trust and commitment that could lead to vulnerability. But for now I’ll sit on this side of my computer screen, and you can sit on the other side, and we can meet each other as we are, fully authentic, no shame included!

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